Vehicle registration plates of Russia

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Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -177 stands for Moscow.
Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -51 stands for Murmansk Oblast.
Bus with the licence number painted in large letters

Vehicle registration plates are the mandatory number plates used to display the registration mark of a vehicle, and have existed in Russia for many decades. Most motor vehicles which are used on public roads are required by law to display them.

History[edit]

The format of vehicle registration plates in Russia has changed immensely since the collapse of the Soviet Union. License plates in Russia originated 1910s and were not standardized, as there was a small amount of automobiles. In 1932, license plates became standardized for each region and had special numbers representing which region the automobile was from. Soviet plates prior to 1982 were white-on-black. They had combination of four digits, grouped by two and three Cyrillic letters in smaller type. The rear plate was square with letters located below the numbers. From those letters, the first two indicated the region. For example, the combination 75-63 КЛЖ referred to a car from the Kaliningrad Region. After 1982 a new black-on-white format for newly registered cars was adopted. The 1982 format differentiated privately owned from government owned cars and trucks (virtually all vehicles used for business, as all businesses belonged to the government). The government owned vehicles retained the NNNN LLL scheme (the digits were no longer grouped by two and all characters were the same size) and the rear plate was square on trucks and buses/coaches but oblong on passenger cars, while private vehicles used L NNNN LL (with a smaller-sized first letter - for example, c 5969 ME on a van from the Moscow Region) and invariably oblong format. The last two letters indicated regions or large cities. Largest cities usually had several two-letter codes to account for a larger number of cars. For example, the city of Kiev used КИ and ХТ codes while the Kiev Oblast' region (excluding the city itself) used КХ. The use of Cyrillic characters meant that in some cases replacement plates with characters looking like Latin characters had to be temporarily issued to vehicles going.

Current plate format[edit]

Vehicle registration plates for motorcycles
License plate using by police
License plate for diplomatic vehicles
License plate for military vehicles

The current format uses a letter followed by 3 digits and two more letters. To improve legibility of the numbers for Russian cars abroad, only a small subset of Cyrillic characters that look like Latin characters are used (12 letters: А, В, Е, К, М, Н, О, Р, С, Т, У, Х). Finally, the region number (77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, and 777 for Moscow, 78, 98, and 178 for Saint Petersburg, etc.) and letters "RUS" are included, as well as the national flag (the flag was not used on some of the earliest plates of this format). There is a different format for trailers (2 letters and 4 digits).

The standard size for the license plate is 520 mm by 110 mm.

Some vehicles, like trolleybuses, are not required to have license plates, because they can not leave the network they operate on and can be identified by number that is painted and is given by local public transport authority. Trucks and buses generally have their licence numbers repeated in large letters on the rear of the vehicle for easier identification (a practice continued from Soviet days), although they also bear licence plates.[citation needed] Some autonomous regions are not required to have the flag on the licence plates.[citation needed]

Vehicles used by certain organisations or categories of persons carry special plates:

  • Police forces have special numbers on blue colored plates and the format is one letter and four digits. The letter signifies the branch of the police force, and its meaning may change from city to city; for example, in Moscow, A ####|99 rus stands for traffic police, У ####|99 rus for patrol cars, O ####|99 rus for police guard service etc.
  • Diplomatic cars have white characters on a red background. The first three digits on the plate are a code identifying the embassy to which they belong, assigned in order based on the date at which that country established diplomatic relations with Russia or the Soviet Union. For example, the United Kingdom is 001, the United States is 004, and Paraguay is 157. On cars assigned to rank-and-file diplomats this code is followed by D and three digits (for example, 004 D 108|77 rus), while ambassadors' cars have a slightly different license plate format (004 CD 1|77 rus).
  • The Armed Forces have white characters on a black background and the format is NNNN LL for vehicles and LL NNNN for trailers. In this case the two digits on the right are not a regional code but a code for the Armed forces branch or service and go with a certain letter combination. For example, #### CA|14 rus is a vehicle belonging to the Railroad Troops; #### BC|27 rus denotes the Air Defence Force, #### TO|18 rus denotes the Ministry of Emergency Situations etc. Unlike all other categories, number plates of Armed Forces are not light reflective.
  • Public transport vehicles (such as buses, licensed taxis and licensed share taxis) have black characters on a yellow background and the format is LL NNN. Since such vehicles are relatively few, the region code does not change often; in Moscow, for example, yellow "public transport" plates are still issued with the code 77 in December 2009. (Note: This type is not to be confused with similar-looking yellow license plates having the format LL NNN L, which were issued to cars registered to foreign companies operating in Russia; the latter type has now been withdrawn.)

Special plates in the above four categories never carry the Russian flag.

There are special series (usually numbers starting with A) reserved for government officials (for example, A 001 AA usually belongs to the governor of the region). The license plates for federal government officials originally had a larger flag instead of the regional code but this type has now been withdrawn as well.

Rich businessmen, prominent politicians and crime lords often use para-legally acquired special licence plates (government or police) to get preferential treatment from the transport police and as a status symbol. Often, this is used in conjunction with a flashing siren. The Society of Blue Buckets is a protest movement that opposes this trend.[1]

Runout problem[edit]

As per GOST provision, only 1,726,272 combinations may be issued within one administration unit. In certain regions, the amount of vehicles exceeds that number, and the combination may not be reused after a vehicle was taken off the registration. All this creates an issue of running out of numbers.

A short-term solution was introducing more codes for those regions. Thus, some regions have two codes issued to them, Perm Krai and the city of St. Petersburg have three, Krasnoyarsk Krai has four, Moscow Oblast has five, and the federal city of Moscow has seven codes. But this does not fully solve the problem, as the authorities may eventually run out of regional codes because any code containing three-numeral code with any first numeral except for 1 will not fit without changing the standardized layout of the plate.[citation needed]

Introduction of new style license plate is being considered as a future solution.[citation needed]

Regional codes[edit]

Numbers of the license plates of Russia
Code The region of Russian Federation
01 Republic of Adygea
02, 102 Republic of Bashkortostan
03 Republic of Buryatia
04 Altai Republic
05 Republic of Dagestan
06 Republic of Ingushetia
07 Kabardino-Balkar Republic
08 Republic of Kalmykia
09 Karachay–Cherkess Republic
10 Republic of Karelia
11 Komi Republic
12 Mari El Republic
13, 113 Republic of Mordovia
14 Sakha Republic
15 Republic of North Ossetia–Alania
16, 116 Republic of Tatarstan
17 Tuva Republic
18 Udmurt Republic
19 Republic of Khakassia
21, 121 Chuvash Republic
22 Altai Krai
23, 93, 123 Krasnodar Krai
24, 84, 88, 124 Krasnoyarsk Krai
25, 125 Primorsky Krai
26, 126 Stavropol Krai
27 Khabarovsk Krai
28 Amur Oblast
29 Arkhangelsk Oblast
30 Astrakhan Oblast
31 Belgorod Oblast
32 Bryansk Oblast
33 Vladimir Oblast
34, 134 Volgograd Oblast
35 Vologda Oblast
36, 136 Voronezh Oblast
37 Ivanovo Oblast
38, 85, 138 Irkutsk Oblast
39, 91 Kaliningrad Oblast
40 Kaluga Oblast
41, 82 Kamchatka Krai
42, 142 Kemerovo Oblast
43 Kirov Oblast
44 Kostroma Oblast
45 Kurgan Oblast
46 Kursk Oblast
47 Leningrad Oblast
48 Lipetsk Oblast
49 Magadan Oblast
50, 90, 150, 190, 750 Moscow Oblast
51 Murmansk Oblast
52, 152 Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
53 Novgorod Oblast
54, 154 Novosibirsk Oblast
55 Omsk Oblast
56 Orenburg Oblast
57 Oryol Oblast
58 Penza Oblast
59, 81, 159 Perm Krai
60 Pskov Oblast
61, 161 Rostov Oblast
62 Ryazan Oblast
63, 163 Samara Oblast
64, 164 Saratov Oblast
65 Sakhalin Oblast
66, 96, 196 Sverdlovsk Oblast
67 Smolensk Oblast
68 Tambov Oblast
69 Tver Oblast
70 Tomsk Oblast
71 Tula Oblast
72 Tyumen Oblast
73, 173 Ulyanovsk Oblast
74, 174 Chelyabinsk Oblast
75, 80 Zabaykalsky Krai
76 Yaroslavl Oblast
77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, 777[2] Moscow
78, 98, 178 St. Petersburg
79 Jewish Autonomous Oblast
82 Republic of Crimea
83 Nenets Autonomous Okrug
86, 186 Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug
87 Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
89 Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
92 Sevastopol
94 Baikonur
95 Chechen Republic

Codes of diplomatic representative offices and the international organizations on diplomatic license plates[edit]

Diplomatic license plate.JPG

001 - Great Britain

002 - Germany

003 - Canada

004 - USA

005 - Japan

006 - Spain

007 - France

008 - Belgium

009 - Greece

010 - Denmark

011 - Italy

012 - Luxembourg

013 - Netherlands

014 - Norway

015 - Turkey

016 - Australia

017 - Austria

018 - Algeria

019 - Egypt

020 - Rwanda*

021 - Argentina

022 - Afghanistan

023 - Myanmar (the former Burma)

024 - Bolivia

025 - Brazil

026 - Burundi

027 - Ghana

028 - Bangladesh

029 - Guinea

030 - Zambia

031 - Peru

032 - India

033 - Indonesia

034 - Jordan

035 - Iraq

036 - Iran

037 - Ireland

038 - Iceland

039 - Cambodia (the former Kampuchea)

040 - Kenya

041 - Cyprus

042 - Congo

043 - Costa Rica

044 - Kuwait

045 - Laos

047 - Lebanon

048 - Libya

049 - Mali

050 - Morocco

051 - Mexico

052 - Nepal

053 - Nigeria

054 - Venezuela

055 - New Zealand

056 - Pakistan

057 - Burkina Faso*

058 - Senegal*

059 - formerly Syria. Now code 133 is used.

060 - Somalia

061 - Sudan

062 - Sierra Leone

063 - Thailand

064 - Tanzania

065 - Tunisia

066 - Uganda

067 - Uruguay

068 - Philippines

069 - Finland

070 - Sri Lanka

071 - Chad

072 - Switzerland

073 - Sweden

074 - Ecuador

075 - Ethiopia

076 - Angola

077 - Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Republic Zaire)

078 - Colombia

079 - Cameroon

080 - Guinea-Bissau

081 - Portugal

082 - Bulgaria

083 - Hungary

084 - Vietnam

086 - Poland

087 - Korean People's Democratic Republic (North Korea)

088 - Cuba

089 - Mongolia

090 - China

091 - Romania

092 - formerly Czechoslovakia (nowadays Czech Republic (148) and Slovakia (149))

093 - Serbia

094 - Benin

095 - Gabon

096 - Guyana*

097 - Mauritania

098 - Madagascar*

099 - Malaysia

100 - Niger*

101 - Singapore

102 - Togo*

103 - Central African Republic (code 106 used earlier)

104 - Jamaica*

105 - Yemen

106 - formerly Central African Republic. Now code 103 is used.

107 - Palestine

108 - Nicaragua

109 - Mozambique

110 - Equatorial Guinea

111 - Sovereign Military Order of Malta (earlier code 111 belonged to Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon))

112 - Malta

113 - Cape Verde

115 - Zimbabwe

116 - United Arab Emirates

117 - Côte d'Ivoire*

118 - Namibia

119 - formerly Republic of South Africa. Now code 137 is used.

120 - Oman

121 - Qatar

122 - formerly Arab League. Now code 503 is used

123 - formerly Liechtenstein

124 - South Korea

125 - Chile

126 - Panama (earlier code 126 belonged to UNESCO; see code 512)

127 - Israel

128 - FYR Macedonia (earlier code 128 belonged to EU)

129 - Albania

130 - formerly international organizations

131 - Holy See (Vatican)

132 - Lithuania

133 - Syria (code 059 used earlier)

134 - Estonia

135 - Latvia

136 - Bahrain

137 - Republic of South Africa (code 119 used earlier)

138 - Armenia

139 - formerly Georgia. Now code 158 is used.

140 - Saudi Arabia

141 - Slovenia

142 - Uzbekistan

143 - Kyrgyzstan

144 - Croatia

145 - Azerbaijan

146 - Ukraine

147 - Moldova

148 - Czech Republic

149 - Slovakia

150 - Belarus

151 - Tajikistan

152 - Turkmenistan

153 - Kazakhstan

154 - Guatemala

155 - Bosnia and Herzegovina

156 - Eritrea

157 - Paraguay*

158 - Georgia (code 139 used earlier)

159 - Brunei-Darussalam

160 - Gambia

161 - Vietnam

162 - Mauritius

163 - Dominican Republic

164 - Montenegro

165 - South Ossetia

166 - Abkhazia

167 - Djibouti

International organizations[edit]

499 - Eurocommission (code 502 used earlier)

500 - European bank for Reconstruction and Development

501 - formerly UN Information Centre

502 - formerly Eurocommission. Now code 499 is used.

503 - Arab League (جامعة الدول العربية)

504 - International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

505 - International Monetary Fund (IMF)

506 - International Organization for Migration

507 - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

508 - International Committee of the Red Cross

509 - International Finance Corporation (IFC)

510 - United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

511 - United Nations (UN)

512 - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); code 126 used earlier.

514 - International Bank for Economic Complementation

515 - International Investment Bank

516 - The Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications

517 - International Centre of Scientific and Technical Information

518 - International Scientific and Technical Centre

520 - International Labour Organization

521 - The Interelectro International Organization for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Electrical Industry

522 - Coordination Centre of the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation in Computing Machinery

523 - Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States

524 - European Space Agency

525 - Eurasian Patent Organization

526 - earlier Taipei-Moscow Coordination Commission for Economic and Cultural Cooperation

527 - The Headquarters for Coordination of Military Cooperation of the state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States

528 - Interstate Bank

529 - Eurasian Economic Community (earlier - Integration Committee of the Eurasian Economic Community)

530 - International Research Institute of Management Problems

531 - Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTA)

532 - Intergovernmental Statistical Committee of the CIS

533 - Secretary of Council of Interparliamentary Assembly of state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States

534 - Eurasian Development Bank (EDB)

535 - The Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational Cooperation of the CIS

Consular offices[edit]

900 - Honorary consuls and offices headed by them.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elder, Miriam (May 28, 2010). "Moscow's limos halted by blue buckets". The Guardian (London). 
  2. ^ http://platesmania.com/regionstat-777 Statistics of region Moscow City. License plates of Russia, Cars (type 1, 1a)